Newton ready to rock Blackpool
Local favourite Wes Newton is preparing to compete in front of his fanatical fans at the Betfair World Matchplay.
The world No 5's Fleetwood home is only eight miles up the Fylde coast from Blackpool's Winter Gardens, with only rival Ronnie Baxter being closer to the seaside venue.
The former UK Open finalist opens his challenge in this year's tournament when he plays James Hubbard in the first round on the fourth night 24 July, when he can expect the majority of a packed Empress Ballroom to be cheering him on.
"It is my favourite event, with it being my home tournament," said Newton. "I've always gone to watch it since I was a kid, and even though I've not had my best results there it is my favourite.
"It's a bit of a party atmosphere. There's a lot of holidaymakers in Blackpool in the summer as well as the darts fans, and they're all enjoying themselves.
"It's a very scenic arena. It's not very long but it's wide so the crowd are right on top of you, which adds to the atmosphere.
"The best feeling I've experienced was being called out the first time I qualified for the World Matchplay in 2006. You always wonder what it would be like and it was really good.
"I've got a lot of family and friends who come and support me - it's hard to get tickets for them all sometimes! I get a lot of support so it would be nice to have a good run this year."